Presenting at the meeting were Advocate Eric Matinenga, Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa, Dr Simba Makoni and Dr Dumiso Dabengwa.
And as the constitutional debate rages on, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Advocate Eric Matinenga has reiterated that a new constitution for Zimbabwe was possible and should form the basis upon which Zimbabwe holds fresh polls.
Speaking at the meeting, Matinenga rubbished Chris Mutsvangwa’s earlier assertion that a new constitution was tantamount to destroying the state saying that Zimbabwe was going to produce a new constitution for the generations to come.
Mutsvangwa had said that the formation of the first state of Zimbabwe did not take a referendum or a new constitution. Mutsvangwa further argued that writing a constitution was not difficult when it is written in the context of the state.
“Writing a new constitution is not a difficult thing, you just need to take the American constitution and add values to it,” Mutsvangwa said.
Mutsvangwa further said if parties disagree, elections are the way to go.
“Elections are a product of disagreement. Agree to disagree and go back to the people who are the original arbiters. Appeal to the people let them chose the next government,” noted Mutsvangwa.
The Minister noted that the parliamentary select committee, COPAC will produce a constitution for generations to come.
Matinenga further noted that the new book of law was practical only if every Zimbabwean embrace constitutionalism which he said was being undermined by certain people who believe they have God sent opportunity to dictate what others should do.
Mavambo Kusile Dawn (MKD) leader, Dr Simba Makoni concurred with Matinenga by arguing that a new constitution is practical.
“A new constitution can be produced quite quickly, easily and cheaply too if we are committed. A new constitution must be the basis for free and fair elections,” he said.
“The value of the constitution is not in the document but is in the culture and principles of a people,” said Dr Makoni.
He added that the key principles in the constitutions should be, ‘supremacy of the constitution’, ‘separation of powers’, ‘separation of a ruling party and the state’, ‘separation of religion and state’ and ‘limits in terms of office.’Makoni went on to say that the inclusive government was formed to lead the country’s transition process though it has failed to achieve that goal.
“The MDC-PF government took office with three principal objectives to lead the process of National healing and reconciliation after the traumas of the period up to June 27 2008… however we regret that from February 13 2009 to date the people who assumed office with the mandate to transit our country from crisis and conflict to peace, reconciliation, harmony and stability, have not seen that as their principal mandate instead they have made their principal mandate to contest for power,” he said.
Speaking at the same meeting, ZAPU President Dumiso Dabengwa noted that the constitution was necessary, as the Lancaster house constitution was a compromise document to bridge the gap between the minority rule and the majority rule.
“The Lancaster House constitution was merely a transitional process which was set to be amended but nothing has been done, the people of Zimbabwe have a deep desire for good governance.
“Zimbabwe has so far not experienced a fully responsible government, the people should decide how and by whom they need to be governed,” Dabengwa said.
Dabengwa added that ZANU and ZAPU accepted certain elements that they would not have accepted and this was the reason why Zimbabwe should have a new constitution.
The former liberation fighter however said that a new constitution can only set a framework for a democratic cause but cannot certainly guarantee free and fair elections, adding that the dominant culture of impunity during elections should be brought to an end.
The speakers, Matinenga, Dabengwa and Makoni agreed that a new constitution for Zimbabwe was not only possible but desirable and should form the basis for free and fair polls.
By Thomas Madhuku, picture by Talent Madamombe